Cheesy Quinoa

3/4 cup dry quinoa

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup minced onion

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 2% milk

3 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

extra cheese for serving, if desired


1. Place the dry quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well. Drain, removing as much water as you can. Combine the quinoa, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and  1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed (I have to go all the way to 20 minutes). Remove heat and set aside for 10 minutes, or until you're ready to add it to the cheese sauce.


2. While the quinoa cooks, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and let it melt, then add the flour. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.


3. Add the milk, stirring to combine well. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened a bit (drag your spoon or spatula along the bottom of the pan, and it should take a 2-3 seconds for the track to fill in), about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.


4. Add the shredded cheese and gently stir until the cheese has melted. (If you stir too vigorously the cheese may separate and then you have a very sad sauce.) Add the cooked quinoa and gently stir to combine. Serve with extra shredded cheese if you want.


Makes 4 side-dish servings.


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